Sawyer Legends: Diane Myers

HOF-Myers-HZTFor Diane Myers, a 2016 Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame inductee and 1977 graduate of Saugerties High School, athletics were just about everything.

“I pretty much stayed to sports,” she said. “I didn’t do much of anything else.”

Born at Benedictine hospital as the sixth of seven children of Anley and Florence Myers, Diane grew up with athletics.

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“Growing up in a large family and having four older brothers, we were always playing some kind of sports,” she said.

A star at Saugerties High in volleyball and softball, Myers got started in organized sports at the age of 11. She played on the Maximus Super in Saugerties Athletic Association (SAA) softball and basketball under Coach Kenny Swart. In high school, she participated in intramural sports from her freshman through senior years. Myers was on the track and field team in the 11th grade, and she played on the junior varsity girls’ basketball team as a freshman and sophomore, and on the varsity team as a junior and senior. But Myers saw hoops as a bridge between her favorite sports: Volleyball, played in the fall; and softball, played in spring.

“Basketball, I just did as a sport between volleyball and softball,” she said. “Volleyball and softball were really my two sports that I liked. Basketball was just kind of keeping in condition for softball. I wasn’t a big basketball player, so I didn’t really excel.”

At the time, Saugerties High played in the now defunct DSCL Hudson Valley Conference alongside teams like Kingston and Arlington.

“There was a lot of competitiveness,” Myers said, listing the 1975-76 volleyball season where the Sawyers matched Arlington’s 12-1 record as a high school highlight.

As a senior Sawyer, Myers won the Athlete of the Year Award, as well as the 1977 Lawrence M. Cahill Award, which she received not only because of her athletic excellence, but also because of her tireless efforts to help the athletic department by running and refereeing athletics for junior high school students.

After graduating from Saugerties High, Myers went on to Ulster County Community College, where she continued her seasonal cycle of sports, playing volleyball, basketball and softball. During her freshman season on the softball team, Myers had a .723 batting average, going 34-for-47 at the plate, and helping lead Coach John Frampton’s team to an 11-1 regular season record and a third place finish in the Region XV Tournament. While at UCCC, Myers also Saugerties JV volleyball coach and a JV basketball coach at John A. Coleman Catholic High School.

After receiving her Associate’s Degree in recreation, Myers spent a year at Brockport University, playing for the school’s softball team and adding fastball pitcher to her extensive list of accomplishments. She also stayed involved with SAA sports, playing softball, volleyball and basketball. After college, Myers played on a tournament softball travel team, and participated in volleyball, basketball and softball in recreational leagues in Saugerties and Kingston.

Later, Myers found her way to golf, the sport which has since replaced all the others in her life.

“I had no experience with golf at all,” she said. “I kind of just gave up on volleyball and softball because of the physical boundaries. You can only throw your body to the ground so many times.”

Myers got involved in the New Paltz Women’s Golf Association, eventually becoming its president. She’s currently the director of the Ulster County Women’s Golf Association, a title she’s held since 2001. She also runs an annual golf clinic for women in the county, which helps to redress much of the sport’s local focus on boys and men.

“I try to give back to the community and help the community get themselves into golf,” Myers said. “For the women I think it’s totally different from the boys. In schools, for the girls, golf is very limited. That was one reason why I continue to do these clinics, not just to get elderly women involved, but the high school involved as well.”

Myers added that she rarely sees girls coming up from Saugerties.

“I see them in the county, because you’re talking about Rondout (High), which has a large golf team, and Onteora (High),” she said. “Saugerties is very limited on girls’ golf. I do see some girls that are in high school that are interested; they’re coming to the clinics and they’re interested in the game of golf. Some of them are fairly good and some of them are beginners. My target is to try to help them, not go into a career for golf, but just to continue golf as a recreation sport for their own worthiness.”

Professionally, Myers runs her own bookkeeping business, which she started after working for 19 years as a typesetter in Poughkeepsie. And recreationally, she travels, listing Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, and the Cayman Islands as some of her favorite destinations. In 2011, she attended the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

“Seeing the level of competition was always an interest to me,” she said. “Seeing women in today’s sports reminds me that we have come a long way since the time of Billie Jean King.”

Myers also cites oil painting as one of her various interests, photographing landscapes and painting them at home.

 

“It’s very soothing for me to paint and just to get away from all the hecticness of the world,” she said.The 2016 Saugerties Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet will be held on Saturday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Diamond Mills, with a cocktail and welcoming hours beginning one hour earlier. Tickets are $25 and are available through Mark Becker at 518-641-9520 or halfink@verizon.net.